I have been following the Haleigh Cummings case since the girl disappeared from her Satsuma, Florida home on February 10. Six months later Haleigh is still missing; and as far as is known publicly there have been no major developments in the investigation of late.

With the police remaining tight-lipped, where can people go to get credible information? To be honest, I find the options to be limited. The case has gone cold in the national media; and I understand there is a lack of interest by the local news reporters as well.

Thankfully there are still a few outlets that remain attentive to Haleigh’s situation. Among them is Simon Barrett’s reporting on Blogger News Network and on his Blog Talk Radio show. And the reporting of TJ Hart, News Director for Florida station The Sky, at 97.3 FM.

However, in addition to the apparent lack of progress in the investigation itself, I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the circus atmosphere surrounding this case. A fiction writer would be hard pressed to create the number of unique characters, egos, sub-plots and hidden agendas that exist here.

Although I was aware that Internet blogs are rife with unsubstantiated rumors and outright lies, I didn’t truly appreciate the depth of the side issues until I listened to Simon Barrett’s show yesterday. Not only are some bloggers running amok, but some of the key players are involved in vendettas against one another and using Haleigh’s disappearance as a vehicle to get their revenge or accomplish their goals.

As an example, let’s take a look at what happened to bail bondsman and bounty hunter William “Cobra” Staubs. Mr. Staubs arrived in the Satsuma area with the honorable intention of helping to find Haleigh. However, his efforts were cut short when he ran afoul of attorney Kim Picazio. Staubs suddenly found himself under arrest and his business license suspended. He is currently thousands of dollars in debt due to the mounting legal fees required to fight what he says are bogus charges.

It appears that many of Staubs’ legal problems can be placed at the feet of Ms. Picazio. Her brother-in-law was on the program yesterday and said that Picazio stated in his presence that she planned to destroy Staubs professionally and financially.

But she isn’t the only source of grief for the bondsman. Staubs himself disclosed yesterday that there is an active effort to run Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy out of office. According to Staubs, there are several factions within and outside of the department that want Hardy gone for various reasons. He said he was even offered a cash payment to set Hardy up to take a fall. It was a situation Staubs refused to be drawn into. But one has to wonder what effect – if any – his decision had on how he has been treated in Putnam County.

All these things might make for an exciting novel. But are they doing anything to further the effort to find Haleigh Cummings? In my opinion, no. In fact, I believe they are doing just the opposite.

It’s time to put egos and personal agendas aside; and use those energies to find Haleigh.     

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